Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 16, 2005
Author: P&S

EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

Government steps in over port privatisation

Nigeria’s Federal Government says it is doing everything possible to pursuade concessionaires who were awarded concessions to operate various terminals in Lagos and Port Harcourt to take over operations immediately.

The successful bidders are showing reluctance owing to an unsolved dispute over severance packages for personnel affected by the reforms.

The lack of progress comes amid accumulating delays at both ports – in Lagos ships are reported as being delayed by anything between seven and 21 days. As a result a number of container lines have decided to cut the ports from their rotation until the delays improve.

Nigeria’s National Ports Authority meanwhile says it is dredging the approaches to Lagos harbour to allow the use of larger vessels and had recently installed new navigational aids to further assist shipping.

Tanga to handle coal

A Kenyan media report reports that the small port of Tanga in Tanzania has begun handling coal for a cement factory. The report in The East African said that 5,000 tonnes had so far been shipped to Tanga but the company importing the ore requires 60,000 tonnes annually to keep the cement factory kilns fired.

Tanga is a small harbour south of the Kenya/Tanzania border which lies opposite Pemba Island. According to the report the port expects to handle 527,000 tonnes of cargo during the current financial year, which is more than the designed port capacity. There has been a steady increase in volumes – in 1998/99 the port handled 192,637t and 221,705t in 2000/01. An average of 12 ships call at Tanga each month.

Products handled include sugar, edible and lubricating oil, motor vehicles, spare parts and fertiliser. Because the port is shallow the coal vessels have to moor outside the quay and cargo is discharged overboard onto lighters.

Nigeria to tackle piracy

Piracy in the Niger Delta region received attention this week from the flag officer of Nigeria’s Eastern Command, when he addressed a seminar on piracy and smuggling off West Africa. Commodore Musa Ajadi declared war on pirates and smugglers alike, particularly the oil smugglers and thieves operating in the Delta system who regard its myriad waterways as a safe haven.

Declaring the task ahead to be onerous and difficult he said the Nigerian Navy needed the assistance of other agencies.

On the other side of the continent the IMO is preparing a resolution to take to next week’s bi-annual IMO council meeting in London (17-18 November). Among the proposals thought to be contained in the document is a recommendation that an international armed naval presence be stationed in Somali waters.

Kenya has already expressed concern at the effect the recent spate of piracy attacks on shipping far out to sea off the Somali coast is having on its own shipping, and in particular a possibly cancellation of cruise ship visits to Mombasa. According to Brown Ondego, MD of Kenya Ports Authority the operators of at least five international cruise ships due to visit Mombasa are now re-examining their options in the light of the recent attack of the Seabourn Spirit.

Regarding the IMO resolution, let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of so many other IMO documents by, requiring years of debate and consideration. ISPS showed what can be done reasonably quickly – the Somalia situation requires even more urgent action before there is a major catastrophe leading to unilateral action by another nation.

Lebombo Border Post hours over festive period

The Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI) informs us of the following border hours for the coming festive period at Lebombo Border Port between South Africa and Mozambique:

Pleas take note of the extended passenger crossing hours, as was announced at the regular customs and agents meeting on 11 November.

‘The border will be open for 24 hours from 12 December 2005 to 9 January 2006 as the last day.’

Commercial cargo will be closed on the following days: 25 December 2005, and 1 January 2006.

Commercial Cargo Clearing – hours of operation

  • Exports (Port Bound/Harbour) 06.00 – 14.00

  • Normal exports 07.30 – 16.30 for acceptance

  • Imports 08.00 – 17.15 for acceptance (do not submit 10 line entries at 17.15

  • MCLI advises that the proposal for commercial to be open till 22.00 was submitted to the Commissioners office, Lebombo Customs and is waiting for their response.

    Clipper Race update –westernaustralia clinches second win

    Wednesday 16 November

    David Pryce and his crew on westernaustralia.com crossed the finish line off Durban in first place on Wednesday, clinching first place in race 3 after holding a commanding lead for much of the race from Salvador.

    Westernaustralia crossed the line at 01.36 UTC in light airs to a burst of fireworks at the mouth of the harbour recording their second win in a row. After 23 days racing across the Atlantic, the winning crew arrived at the Clipper Race Village at Yacht Mole to a spectacular Zulu warrior welcome at dawn with high energy dancing, drumming and singing.

    After sampling a traditional Zulu drink from a carved wooden calabash, westernaustralia Skipper David Pryce said: ‘The wind was up and down all night and we had to pull out all our energy to keep it up for another night.

    ‘We had thought we were going to get in yesterday but the wind died and we ended up having to tack up the coast. We were grateful to have such a good lead as it took a bit of the pressure off.’

    New York is currently lying in second place and was expected to finish later on Wednesday. Cardiff and Qingdao are battling it out for third place, with just one mile separating their respective distances to the finish at the last radio schedule.

    Dave Pryce and the crew of Western Australia have had a well-deserved breakfast together with some more liquid refreshment and are just about to start the deep clean of “the big blue boat”. As they have been bounced around rather more than normal on this leg, there is apparently a lot more cleaning to be done, and they are keen to get this out of the way today to maximise their stopover in Durban.

    Out on the water, however, the biggest story overnight is Mother Nature. The elements have been somewhat fickle, and New York have had the most varied of nights. After accidentally gybing the medium weight spinnaker and damaging it badly in the process, they were then becalmed to the stage where they were going backwards in the current. Skipper Joff Bailey anchored the boat to prevent any more ground being lost, and then had to up anchor in a hurry just before a 45 knot squall came through. This did, however, get them moving again and they are now making reasonable progress towards the finish line again. We hope to see them this afternoon between 1200 and 1700 GMT.

    Danny Watson called in from Qingdao this morning by mobile ‘phone – because Qingdao had been struck by lightning and all their communication equipment was temporarily down. Cardiff are a mile and a half to the east of Qingdao and have suffered the same misfortune. When a yacht is struck by lightning the mast acts as a lightning rod and is deliberately earthed at its base, which limits the damage to just the communication equipment aerials usually, as seems to be the case here. The yachts carry emergency VHF aerials for this eventuality, however. The competition between these two yachts for the 3rd podium place is intense, and as soon as one of the yachts gets a clear lead in front they will try and cover the one behind. This means that they will try and stay between the opposition and the finish line, working on the theorem that it doesn’t matter if the route is a little longer just so long as the other boat cannot get past.

    Glasgow and Durban are just past Port Elizabeth and are neck and neck. They were unlucky with tactical decisions earlier in the race which meant that they missed the weather window that the leading boats took, but the competitive juices are still flowing strong as they battle to get ahead of each other. Here at the Royal Natal and the Point Yacht Clubs the support is obviously somewhat biased, but both yachts are assured of a fantastic welcome.

    Liverpool and Singapore will be close. Even though the distance to go for Singapore is 33 miles less than that of Liverpool right now they are hampered by the damage to their 0.75 ounce lightweight spinnaker, and if the winds ease off as forecast this could be enough to make for a very close finish between these two.

    Jersey is scheduled to leave Cape Town at first light tomorrow morning, after a final day of adjustments and observations by the rig manufacturers there.

    - these reports courtesy Clipper Ventures and Olivia Jones Communications

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